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THE BALLAD OF JIM OLD
by
Stephen Webber

Jim Old 'e wuz a Cornishman
What lived nurr Mawgan Porth
An' in the murky month of March
Old, Jim, 'e sallied forth.

The reason that 'e sallied thus
My duty 'tis to tell
An' sadly now I must relate
'is daughter wuz not well.

The night afore the fatal day
Of which I 'ave ter speak
Jim's lovin' spouse said to 'er dear
"The maid is gettin' weak:

'Er 'as bin coffin' fit ter bust -
It 'as me all a-twitch -
An' when 'er isn't coffin'
Like a whitnick 'er duz scritch."

Now Jim wuz settin' nex' the clome
Awaitin' 'is repast -
A freshly-baked Star-gazey pie -
Wot makes the brains act fast.

Said Jim, "Me dear, I sees yer plight:
The cheal mus' meet no 'arm -
A wantskin jacket 'er must 'ave -
A-fur ter keep 'er warum."

Now Jim believed in deeds, not words,
" 'Tis 'ansum, Boss" 'e said
An' quickly gollopped all 'is pie
An' climbed upsters ter bed.

'E clambered up the wooden 'ill
But drecklv 'twas the dawn
Jim rose an' took 'is wanting 'ook
An' strode toward Bosoughan.

An' ther all day, with 'ook in 'and,
The want'ills 'e did scowd
But ne'er a want did Jim perceive
An' so 'e cursed out loud:

"O, woe is me - no wants I see:
They 'ears me as I come -
They pilchards in that bally pie -
'ems rumblin' in me tum."

Mazed as a brush, Jim coosed all day
In shower an' sleet an' storm,
But all in vain did 'e complain
The wants - 'em all were gorn!

So, leery an' dejected, 'e
With troubles wuz beset
An' tho' the wants no doubt kep' dry,
Poor Jim wuz leakin' wet.

On Shank's pony 'e returned:
'Is wife said "Where's the stuff?"
Jim wuz not altogether pleased
An' answered "Wish't enuff!"

"No matter," said ' is spouse at once,
"The maid will not expire:
'Tis proper job - she set all day
In yer cher nex' the fire."

Jim's wife showed great resourcefulness
An' noticed James's wrath:
'Er packed 'im quickly orf ter bed
With bowl of kittley broth.

I'm glad ter say 'e soon got well
An' soon as 'e were able
'E bought the maid a comely coat -
A man-made-fibre sable.

May all folk heed this moral,
from Mountjoy to Lady Nance:
Do never eat Star-gazey pie
Afore yer coose the wants.

But if yer duz like Jim of 0ld
Ye'll ne'er a want espy
An' twenty thousand underground
Will know the reason why.

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Glossary (for Furriners):

Whitnick: A weasel
Scritch: To scream
Clome: A wall-oven
Star-Gazey Pie: A Cornish speciality of whole pilchards and hard-boiled eggs: the fish heads stick up out of the pie-crust
Cheal: A girl-child
'Tis 'ansum: Expression of approval
Want: (rhymes with 'pant') A mole
To scowd the want'ills: To put the boot into molehills
Dreckly: A useful word of varied meaning e.g.: Now, sometime, 'if I get around to it'
Mazed as a brush: A trifle put out
To coose: To chase or hunt
Leaking wet: A trifle damp
Wish't enuff: A response implying that all is not well
Proper job: A good thing
Kittley broth: Another speciality: bread with butter and/or clotted cream, drenched in hot water and salted.
Bosoughan : (rhymes with 'dawn') A hamlet near Newquay; Old ancestral home
Mountjoy: A hamlet near Bosoughan
Lady Nance: Four cottages and a contaminated wishing-well, just across the fields from Mountjoy

 
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